Re: tc-list UBS4 & NRSV on Jn 1:18
- Hello Jeff!
At 04:02 PM 11/2/99 -0800, you wrote:
>Does anyone know why the NRSV committee chose to include "son" in Jn 1:18CREA
>instead of going with the UBS4 decision (rated B) to omit "son"?
>The preface to the NRSV does state, "Only in very rare instances have we
>[i.e., the NRSV committee] replaced the text or the punctuation of the
>Bible Societies' edition by an alternative that seemed to us to be
>It seems somewhat odd to me that the NRSV would make a change to a
>B-rated reading in UBS4. Yes, I am familiar with the difficulties of
>translating 1:18 without "son" but that doesn't justify overturning
Actually, the NRSV is pretty much in conformity with the majority of
recent translations which claim to base themselves on UBS^3 and UBS^4 --
NAB, REB, NIV, TEV, CEV as well as the "God's Word" translation (just to
name versions in my own library) all include some sort of "son" language at
John 1:18. The note found in my copy of the NAB (with study helps)
explains their choice of language as follows (italics shown by inclosure in
angled brackets < >):
"<The only Son, God>: while the vast majority of later textual
witnesses have another reading, "the Son, the only one", or "the
only Son", the translation above follows the best and earliest
manuscripts, <monogEnes theos>, but takes the first term to mean
not just "Only One", but to include a filial relationship with
the Father, as at Luke 9:38 ("only child") or Heb. 11:17 ("only
son") and as translated at John 1:14. The Logos is thus "only
Son" and God, but not Father/God."
Hope that this helps.
- On Tue, 2 Nov 1999 16:02:23 -0800
>Does anyone know why the NRSV committee chose to include "son" in Jn[snip]
The real problem with the NRSV (or NAB as Dykes noted) is that their
rendering "God the only Son" is a deliberately-conflated reading which
has no Greek MS support. Perhaps this was a compromise to satisfy
conflicting views on the NRSV committee or was considered to be an
The NAB note quoted by Crea, ("the translation above follows the best and
earliest manuscripts, <monogEnes theos>, but takes the first term to
mean not just "Only One", but to include a filial relationship with the
Father"), is, I suspect, an inadequate attempt to justify the otherwise
unsupported conflation and to have the best of both worlds. I would note
that the claim of the NAB editors in this note runs contrary to that
stated by Frederick C. Grant, "'Only-Begotten' -- A Footnote to the R .S.
V.", _Bible Translator_ 17 (1966) 11-14, where on p. 12 Grant
specifically states that "in ordinary use _monogenes_ did not carry any
more weight than _monos_, 'only'", referencing Moulton-Milligan, p. 416f.
The matter of "Son" or any filial relation would still need to be stated
following such a descriptive, as Grant demonstrates from NT, LXX, and
>Yes, I am familiar with the difficulties of translating 1:18 without"son" but that >doesn't justify overturning textual evidence.
Preference for the reading "Son" is not exactly "overturning textual
evidence," but merely making a different choice based on application of
different principles to the same evidence. As I recall, Ehrman argues
specifically for the originality of the Byzantine reading "Son" in this
location, on the supposition that the Alexandrian reading of "God" was an
"orthodox corruption" (this differs from Dykes' claim, so please correct
me if I am wrong -- I don't have Bart's book close at hand, but I thought
he argued for the originality of UIOS as opposed to the bare MONOGENHS as
the original reading).
Maurice A. Robinson
Professor of NT and Greek
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina
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> From: "Maurice A. Robinson" <seventh.guardian@...>I have not followed this thread closely, but I wonder if "God the only Son"
> Reply-To: tc-list@...
> Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 12:52:01 EST
> To: tc-list@...
> Subject: Re: tc-list UBS4 & NRSV on Jn 1:18
> The real problem with the NRSV (or NAB as Dykes noted) is that their
> rendering "God the only Son" is a deliberately-conflated reading which
> has no Greek MS support. Perhaps this was a compromise to satisfy
> conflicting views on the NRSV committee or was considered to be an
> interpretative necessity?
is simply the way the NRSV translators felt that MONOGENHS QEOS should be
translated and thus this is not a textual issue at all. There is an article
by Fennema, "John 1:18: 'God the Only Son'"(NTS 31 [January 1985]: 12435),
where this translation is argued as being the correct one.
Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary